If you are a fan of the Detroit Tigers, you are well aware of who Daniel Norris is and what he is capable of becoming as a starting pitcher. You know his story about living out of a van and you most certainly know how he continued to play baseball in 2015, despite dealing with thyroid cancer. Well, by the time the 2017 Major League Baseball season is in the books, the rest of the nation will also know exactly who Daniel David Norris is, as well. But it will not be because of his cool stories, but because of his dominance on the mound.
Norris, who is now 23-years-old, was originally selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the second round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He remained in the Jays organization until July 30, 2015, when he was traded to the Tigers in a deal that sent David Price to Toronto. Just a few days after becoming a Tiger, Norris got the attention of the fans when the gave up just one run in 7 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles.
In 2016, things did not go as planned as Norris began the season on the disabled list. He dealt with injuries for most of the year and finished with a 4-2 record and a 3.38 ERA. When he was able to pitch, he showed flashes of brilliance, including striking out 11 batters in 6 1/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins in mid-September. Though he was only able to toss just over 69 innings last season, it became apparent that Norris had the chance to be something special.
Fast forward to the present day and Norris is now a fixture in the starting rotation. In order for the Tigers to get to where they want to go, he will have to stay healthy and have solid production for a full season. In two starts this season, Norris has pitched well; he has thrown 12.1 innings over those two starts with a sparkling 2.19 ERA, going 1-0 in those two starts. It would have been 2-0, but we know the well-documented bullpen problems the team deals with.
The time for Daniel Norris to take the next step in his progression on the baseball field is now. General manager Al Avila has said the Tigers will be working to cut payroll moving forward, which means there is no guarantee that the core of the current roster will be together much longer than this coming season. Because of that, it is crucial that Norris lives up to the hype immediately and helps get the Tigers back to the playoffs and hopefully to the World Series.
Norris is quiet and reserved and is the last person who will ever tell you how great he is as a pitcher. Instead, he is the type of player who is focussed on doing his job to the best of his ability and moving on to the next day. In 2017, his dominance on the field will be so loud that he won’t even have to say a word.
Look out world, Daniel Norris is about to become a household name.